Nigerian Couple to be Sentenced while Keeping a Woman as Slave in their Home in Ireland
A Nigerian couple, Osarobo John Izekor and his wife, Precious Izekor are standing trial for slavery offences for allegedly making a vulnerable woman “perform forced labour” in their home in Ireland.
The husband and wife, with an address at Ashmount Gardens in Lisburn, admitted between September 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017, they “required another person to perform forced or compulsory labour”. While the victim was forced to carry out domestic duties, a majority of the criminality by the Izekors was unpaid childcare.
According to news report by Wales Online, the case, which was heard at Belfast Crown Court, is one of the first prosecutions under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.
The couple admitted keeping the Nigerian national as a domestic slave in their then Castlereagh Place home in East Belfast for a 10-month period.
Crown barrister Charles MacCreanor said the woman – who could not read or write – arrived in Northern Ireland in 2011 and worked as a nanny for John Izekor’s sister for a five-year period.
When 36-year-old John Izekor’s sister returned to Nigeria in Autumn 2016, she moved into Castlereagh Place and was told money would be sent back to her family for any work she undertook.
During the 10-month period of offending, the woman had her own room and was given food and clothes – but was not paid any money.
In addition, the Izekors had possession of her passport and other documents, which she didn’t have access to. Mr MacCreanor said that whilst living with the Izekors, the woman was in contact with a relative of John’s, who expressed a desire for her to return to Nigeria so they could get married.
This relative asked the woman about her documentation and Visa status, and when she raised this issue with Precious, an argument ensued. Despite her request for her documents, they were not handed over to the woman and the argument led to a “deterioration of relations.”
Following this the woman tried to look for her passport and other documents when 29-year-old Precious Izekor was out. A few days later, she left the Izekors and went to stay with a friend. This friend, the court heard, was concerned for the woman, felt she was being exploited and accompanied her to the Home Office.
When a Home Office official called at the Izekors home, Precious was asked about the woman, and denied knowing her. An investigation was launched which resulted in the involvement of the PSNI and the subsequent arrests of both John and Precious Izekor.